Paul Mendez & Derek Owusu at 2020 Edinburgh Book Festival
Paul Mendez and Derek Owusu at 2020 Edinburgh Book Festival

The Edinburgh International Book Festival is one of the largest public celebrations of the written word in the world. For 17 days every August it brings together writers, poets, politicians, illustrators, musicians and thinkers from around the globe to share stories and ideas and discuss the things that shape our lives. Fresh new voices, household names and prize-winners appear in a programme of events that spans the seriously newsworthy, the outrageously funny and the deeply affecting, offering new stories and perspectives on our world and our place in it.  

900 authors from over 60 countries appear in the inspiring programme of 800 events, activities and workshops, including hundreds for children. The Edinburgh International Book Festival also runs its own independent bookshops, which champion Scottish books and writing alongside the best international work. Around 240,000 visits are made to the Book Festival’s home every year, a specially created tented village in the leafy space of Charlotte Square Gardens, in the heart of historic Edinburgh, the world’s first UNSESCO City of Literature.  

Paul Mendez & Derek Owusu: Thorny Intersections 

How do you get the upper hand on a world you don’t yet understand? That’s the burning question at the heart of two striking debuts that scrape away the coming-of-age clichés, breathing through the aches and pains of growing up. 

With echoes of early Baldwin, Paul Mendez’s Rainbow Milk, one of the Observer’s top 10 debuts of 2020, mines the author’s upbringing as a lapsed Jehovah's Witness and, later, sex worker, to tell an intergenerational story of two men stalled at an impossible intersection of sexuality, spirituality and race. 

Derek Owusu’s ‘virtuosic debut’ That Reminds Me — the first novel to be released on Stormzy’s new imprint #Merky Books — pieces together the fragments of K’s short life, as memories of addiction, racism and trauma threaten to flatline an already faltering recovery. 

Join Owusu and Mendez as they interrogate the forces that seek to cast a shadow over the blossoming of young Black men in the UK today with former Lord Mayor of Sheffield Magid Magid - and fall in love with two writers soon to be on the tip of everyone’s tongue.

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